Tackle Football Before Age 12 Linked to Earlier CTE Symptoms
There's a correlation between the age athletes begin playing football and the onset of CTE.
Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys – or let them play tackle football before the age 12.
At least that’s according to a new study that was conducted by researchers with the BU School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System which was just published in the Annals of Neurology journal.
After studying the brains of 246 football players who had donated their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, the researchers determined there is a strong correlation between the age athletes begin playing tackle football and the onset of behavioral and cognitive problems.
Specifically, the researchers concluded that for every year younger an athlete begins to play tackle football, he or she could start experiencing CTE symptoms 2.5 years earlier. That timeline is even more pronounced for those who start playing the sport before age 12.
“Youth exposure to repetitive head impacts in tackle football may reduce one’s resiliency to brain diseases later in life, including, but not limited to CTE,” BU CTE Center director Dr. Ann McKee said in a statement. “It makes common sense that children, whose brains are rapidly developing, should not be hitting their heads hundreds of times per season.”
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